Saturday, 1 December 2012

We Finally Received Part 1 of Our Citizenship Application

When I arrived home yesterday evening and checked the mailbox, I was delighted to find that we have finally received confirmation from Citizenship and Immigration Canada regarding Part 1 of our Application for Canadian Citizenship for a Person Adopted by a Canadian Citizen.  They have approved Part 1 and we are able to apply for Part 2, once we are matched to our child.

This piece of paper was the final form required for our dossier.  We were moved forward to the match process without it, since they knew it would come in before it was needed, but I'm happy to have everything complete and I will be sending in this form via courier on Monday.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Estimated Wait for a Match

I just received an email from our adoption agency.  I was asking a question about the Post-Placement Deposit and the estimated time to receive our match.

The Post-Placement Deposit is a fee they take and then they return the deposit once they receive the reports.  This is to ensure that we're doing the Post-Placement.

They currently have a single boy in the orphanage that's 4-years.  If they match him with us, then we would be matched shortly.  It depends on who is ahead of us in the queue that have requested a child that age.  Otherwise, for a child between 2- and 4- years, we will likely be waiting for about 6 months for our match.  For a child between 0- and 2- years, we would be waiting closer to 12 months.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Our Dossier Is Complete and We're Waiting For Our Referral

Bob and I had been working on our Dossier throughout the Summer and we had submitted all of the paperwork.  We paid the final agency fee last week.

We have one piece of paper missing from our Dossier, which is Part 1 of Immigration from Canada Customs and Immigration.  We had applied on this in August and were told there was an 8 week turn around time.  I finally got through to Canada Customs and Immigration at the end of November to inquire on where our application was at and I was told that the wait time had increased to 16 weeks and that we should have it back by November 30 at the latest.

We've informed our agency of the status of our Part 1 application and they've moved us forward to the referral section without it, knowing that we will have it before they send us a referral.

After paying the final portion of our dossier fees, we then had to complete 3 online courses and receive the certificates to move forward in the referral process.  I managed to complete all the courses and receive the certificates on Tuesday.  Most of the information in the courses is redundant information, since we also attend the classes offered at our local agency.  The course information includes: Dealing with Grief, Loss, and Separation; Transracial Adoption; and Attachment.

A few weeks ago, we were presented with a potential match (even though we hadn't paid the final portion of the dossier fees).  This potential match was for a sibling group with 3 children (boy 4- years, girl 6-years, girl 8-years).  We were considering this groups and had several serious discussions with family and friends.  We attended a course on transracial adoptions at our Canadian Agency in Calgary and spoke with the Director of our agency after the course.  In our meeting (and in the meeting with our social worker), we were advised that both the provincial government and the federal government would have an issue with us attempting to adopt this sibling group and we would likely not be approved.  In the Province of Alberta, the majority of adoptions of "older" children (children between 6 and 10) have been unsuccessful, where the parents had a 50% divorce rate and people have requested to "return" the children, so the provincial government typically only approves adoptions of older children if these children are related in some way to the parents, or if the parents have other children or experience being foster parents.  The federal government would have a different issue with this match, and it is based on adopting 3 children at once.
We trust our Social Worker and the Director of our Agency and have taken their advice to wait for the referral we had originally applied for.  We hope these children find a loving home.

We're now waiting for our match.  We have requested a boy between 0 & 4-years, but will accept a girl and will accept a sibling pair.  It may take anywhere between 2 and 12 months to receive our match.  Once we're matched and we accept the referral, we have our child and then have to wait for about 9 months to bring our child home.  I understand that the waiting, once you know who your child (or children) is, is the hardest part, because this is the point when you become emotionally attached to your child and you develop a great longing to have your child at home with you.

We're getting close, but know we have to be patient.

Monday, 9 July 2012

We Passed!

I've just arrived home and brought in the mail and we passed!  Our approval of our home study was in the mail with all of the documentation to move forward.

We have been waiting for the approval for two months and it finally came in.  We haven't paid for our dossier to our US agency yet, as we wanted to make sure we had this approval.  We will be submitting this payment today and moving forth with the dossier paperwork.

We've also decided to apply for a short mortgage as an adoption loan.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Still Waiting to be Approved by Children's Services

Bob and I are still waiting to hear from Alberta Children's Services for our approval of our home study.  It was submitted to the Alberta Government at the beginning of May.  We were told it would take at least 6 weeks to hear back.  It's been more than 7 weeks now, so I'm sure we'll have something in the mail now any day.  It's tough waiting.


Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Our Home Study is Being Submitted

Bob is home from Albania and we've just signed off on our Home Study.  We'll return the paperwork tomorrow and I'm going to double check there are no errors in it before it's submitted. So, we're getting one step closer.

I've started supporting another charity today.  I thought I would post this here as well.  Although we have put our preference for a boy and will accept a match with a girl, I think this very important.  Please see "Because I am a Girl".

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Our Home Study is Complete - We just have to sign off

We've received a message that our home study is complete and we need to read through it and sign for it before it can be sent to the provincial government for approval.  We were going to try to make it over to our agency and do this in the office last week, but we ran out of time.  Bob's heading to Albania to work until the third of May, so they're going to send the papers to us in the mail and we'll have to get him to sign them when he gets back.  Once we send this in, we'll have to wait for 1 - 2 months for approval.  So, it looks like we won't know whether we've passes until June or July.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Our Home Study Report is in the Writing Stages

Our Social Worker has finished our series of interviews with us and has written our Home Study Report, which is now in the editing stages.  We'll be asked to review the final draft and sign off on it before it gets sent in to Children's Services.  Once we're approved, we can send the approval and report to One World Adoptions and request the match to our child in DRC.  The report will be in the hands of Children's Services with our Provincial Government for about 4 - 6 weeks, so it will likely take another 2 months for approval.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

DRC Orphans - Give Them Hope

Our Second Meetings for Our Home Study

Today we have our 1:1 meetings/interviews with our Social Worker at the Adoption Agency.  I don't feel anywhere near a nervous, as we've already started the process and we know what to expect for this meeting.
The timing for this meeting is great, as we leave for Mexico tomorrow morning for just over one week.  It's a much needed holiday for the two of us where we can spend time together and get our minds off of the stresses we've encountered the past few months.

Friday, 17 February 2012

The First Meeting of Our Home Studay

On Friday, February 10, our Social Worker, Sterna, came to our home to ask us some questions and see where we live.  She first came in and sat down at our kitchen table to explain the process and we then did a tour of our home so she could see it.  After the tour was done, we went back to our table (where I served Tea, Coffee, and Mini Crave Cupcakes) and we proceeded with the interviews.  She asked us questions on our personalities, how we saw ourselves and how we saw each other.  She asked us questions about our families and our experiences growing up.  
I was nervous for the meeting, because I didn't know what to expect.  It went well.  We have our next meetings, which are individual meetings with Sterna at the Agencies office this Tuesday evening.  She will meet with each of us for an hour and ask some more personal questions.
We would have one meeting after that as a couple and then they will work on completing our Home Assessment report to be sent to Children Services with our provincial government.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Getting Ready for Our Home Study

I've recently resigned from my position in New Home Sales and I'm spending the next week cleaning and getting our home ready for our Home Study.  Our social worker will be coming by at 6 pm on Friday, so we need to make sure our house is in order and we're ready.  This is what I'm currently working on:

1) I will be cleaning out our closets and donating used clothing and shoes
2) I will be donating and recycling old textbooks (I've saved every textbook from University, which are out-dated now and collecting dust).
3) I will be re-arranging furniture to make our home more child friendly
4) I am taking a TOFL course.  This course is not necessary, but would be helpful.  I've always wanted to take it and now is a good time.
5) I'm completing our Self Essays, which need to be done by this Friday.
6) I will also have to drop off a couple more documents with our agency.

Friday, 27 January 2012

We're Approved for our Home Study

We've received our documents back from the Government of Alberta.  We have been approved to start our Home Assessment for our adoption from DRC and Haiti.  Our Social Worker will be coming to start our assessment on February 10th.  This is moving quickly and we now have to make sure our home is ready.  Oh my....

Monday, 23 January 2012

Completing the Paperwork Again

We've almost completed the paperwork for the second time with the second agency.  We're just waiting for our Criminal Record Check to be returned to us, Authorization from the Provincial Government to start the Home Study, and for our references to send in their portion of the paperwork.
As we've previously been approved to adopt from Ethiopia, our agency asked for the forms showing the approval so that we can start with the home study over the next couple of weeks.  Once our home study is complete, we can apply to be matched to our child.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Our Meeting With Our Agency Did Not Go Well

On Wednesday, January 11, 2012 we went to our agency to have a meeting with our Director.  When we arrived for our meeting, our Director was not there.  She had double booked herself and was not in the office.  The receptionist had us meet with one of their social workers, who we had never met before instead.

The social worker sat us down and asked us why we chose to adopt from Ethiopia.  As we explained our motivation to her, she talked to us sternly in a lecture-like fashion.  She explained to us that the Coordinating Agency for Ethiopian Adoptions that they use no longer is accepting applications for new matches and that our only option for international adoptions would be to look at Florida.  She was very condescending and didn't really allow for us to talk.  We left devastated and went for lunch to talk about it.

That afternoon, I got on the phone with Children's Services with our Provincial Government to discuss options for International Adoption and found out we had received some incorrect information from our agency.  I then contacted a different agency and found out that they're currently working with about 120 adoptive parents, who are adopting children from all over the world.  This new agency was offering a course on Saturday for adoptive parents starting their journey to adopt internationally.

From my conversations with this new agency and Children's Services, we had decided to cancel our application with the agency we were dealing with.  I had contacted them and requested our file and asked for our "non-refundable" application fees to be refunded to us.  They complied and returned our paperwork to Bob and returned the fees to my credit card.

The next day, I requested from my employer to have Saturday off so that we could attend the course with the new agency.

When we arrived for the course Saturday morning, we found ourselves in a room with 5 other couples all starting their adoption journey.  We introduced ourselves and discussed the countries we were looking at.  The Director of this agency discussed why international adoption is so important, what we should expect as adoptive parents, and what her experiences were as a grandmother of a biracial child and foster parent.  This course was just what we needed and it was very comforting.

We did group work in the morning with the other parents to discuss the pros and cons of international adoption.  In the afternoon, we met families with children adopted from: China, Taiwan, Haiti, and Florida.  After this course, we felt so good and I was smiling as we drove away.

We had narrowed down our new search to Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  We also have the contacts of the other couples from our course that are looking at these countries.

I'm now in the process of filling out the paperwork again for the new agency and should have everything completed by Wednesday.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Self-Guided Study - Role of our Agency and the Levels of Government

As we work through the Self-Guided Study book, there are a few points that I felt I should mention.

* We chose to work with a not-for-profit adoption agency that has specialized in open adoptions and has been in business since 1989.  We are working with the Director of this Agency and she has a graduate degree in social work.
* The Agency is doing background checks to make sure that we are fit to be parents.  They also work with us to help us with the required paperwork and to make sure that we are ready and aware of all the processes of international adoption.
* The Role of Alberta Children and Youth Services is to assess whether we should be permitted to adopt and once our Home Assessment is complete, they will provide written information to Citizenship and Immigration Canada specifying that we have completed the study and we are approved on a Provincial Level to adopt internationally.
* The Role of Citizenship and Immigration Canada is to make sure that children are not abducted, bought, sold, or removed from their biological families without consent.  They make sure the adoption is legal within both countries and help to create the parent-child relationship.  This is in the best interest of the child, and, in the case where the requirements under to local and international laws are not met, they will deny the child's visa.
No costs will be charged to us from Ethiopia and nobody should ever profit from the procurement of children for adoption.
We are doing our research and using a reputal not-for-profit business, along with working with our government, to make sure that the appropriate steps have been taken and we have the best interest in mind for our child.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Translated Documents are Completed

Yesterday, I had picked up our translated marriage documents, which had been translated from Spanish in to English and notarized.  I will take the translated notarized documents with us to our meeting on Wednesday.

Also, I had completed my physical with our family doctor yesterday and Bob will have his on January 16th.  The only paperwork still needed by our agency from us is our medical evaluations and the information from our references.

Our adoption agency has begun the process with Alberta Children's Services for our adoption and they have also applied for our criminal record checks and intervention checks.

This evening, Bob and I will be working through our home study binder and getting done the necessary homework that we need to complete for our agency.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Dropping Documents off to be Translated

As we had gotten married in Los Cabos, our marriage license was issued in Mexico and written in Spanish.  I'm using the same Notary and Translator that I used to help with the documents for our wedding to help have our marriage documents translated and notarized for our adoption.  I will be dropping the documents off tomorrow and she will have them returned to me in 3 businesss days, which will be in time for our meeting on the 11th.